Graduate Funding Opportunities

The School of Economics (SOE) offers a limited number of graduate assistantships (GAs) for exceptional applicants. These GAs provide funding support to cover a stipend (at least $1,888.89 per month, typically for 9 months for a teaching assistantship (TA) and 12 months for a research assistantship (RA)), full tuition waiver for up to 9 graduate credits per semester (a full course load), and a credit for 50% of the cost of the UMaine health insurance policy for GAs. To apply for a School of Economics GA, apply early (by January 1st) and check the appropriate box on the graduate school application. No other action is required to be considered for a SOE GA.

The University of Maine’s Graduate School also has limited funding opportunities. To apply for a Graduate School funding opportunity, follow the instructions on the Graduate School website.

SOE makes two separate decisions with graduate applications: admission and funding. Depending on when you submit your application, you may receive these two decisions multiple weeks or months apart (admission decision comes first via your online application portal). We typically begin reviewing applications for Fall semester admission in November. Occasionally, an exceptional application may receive an early funding decision, but we make most of our funding decisions in January and February. Funding decisions can extend into May, depending on the type of funding available, the pool of applicants, and the decisions recipients of first-round offers make. We recommend submitting your application by January 1st or earlier to be considered for funding. We do not review applications for a Spring semester start, except in very unusual circumstances.

SOE and the Graduate School sometimes offer additional funding on a competitive basis to cover research expenses and travel to present research at professional conferences. Further funding for travel and research expenses is also available through the Grant Program at the Graduate Student Government.

Students receiving standard SOE GA appointments perform teaching and research tasks. This may involve serving as a TA for undergraduate and/or graduate courses or as an RA on a faculty member’s funded research project. Students are given clear expectations about their responsibilities and are expected, on average, to work 20 hours per week. When assigning assistantships, effort is taken to match the student’s interests and background with the research and teaching needs of the school’s faculty. In addition to these standard SOE GA positions, SOE faculty often secure external research grants that support additional RA positions. These GA positions are competitive: in any given year, we may have 2-6 TA and 2-10 RA positions open. For Fall 2022 admission, we received over 100 applications for 6 total GA positions. We encourage applications from highly-qualified applicants who meet or exceed our admission requirements.

Some examples of possible Fall 2023 Graduate Assistantships

This list summarizes some upcoming potential RA needs. Some of these positions are contingent on faculty securing grant funding. Other positions may emerge that may not be listed here. Many RAs will work with industry, government and community stakeholders. Positions listed below are generally for Master’s students unless PhD. is specified. Please do NOT contact specific faculty members to apply for funding unless they indicate their preference below. Please just check the appropriate box on the application. If you are interested in a specific funding opportunity, we recommend you identify that on your application and discuss in your personal statement why you would be a good fit for the position.

Agricultural EconomicsDr. Jonathan Malacarne is looking for a student to work on topics related to Maine agriculture, food security, and nutrition. Interest or prior experience in agriculture is a must, as the student will take the lead in conducting feasibility studies, crafting enterprise budgets, and presenting the resulting products to stakeholders around the State. The student will also participate in ongoing research related to food procurement, food security, and nutrition in Northern New England.

Economic Policy Analysis. Dr. Jonathan Rubin and the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center have an opening for a research assistant (RA) to assist with economic policy analysis. The RA position supports the research and writing of economists and policy analysts and involves data analysis, verification of statistical and other material in manuscripts, statistical calculations, literature searches, and drafting written materials. The RA must be highly organized and detail-oriented and have the ability to gather, understand, analyze and compellingly present a wide variety of economic data. Knowledge of Python and R preferred. The actual work will vary depending on the particular project needs of the faculty and staff. Current projects include strategic investment analysis for connected and autonomous vehicles on Maine’s roads, assisting coastal communities to determine the value of their marine economies, an analysis of the Opportunity Maine tax credit and a strategic investment analysis in electric vehicle infrastructure for Maine.

Community Energy Economics & EquityDr. Sharon Klein is looking for a student to work on topics related to the technical/physical, economic, environmental/ecological, and social/cultural/equity implications of different approaches to “community energy” (including a diverse set of approaches to group adoption of renewable energy and energy efficiency at a local/community scale; examples include but are not limited to community solar subscriptions; community-owned solar or other renewable energy or energy storage; bulk purchase campaigns; municipal or tribal government projects; K-12 school initiatives; low-income residential housing weatherization programs; etc.). Interest or prior experience in renewable energy, energy efficiency, community energy, energy storage, and/or energy equity is a must. Desired economic experience includes social benefit-cost analysis and knowledge of potential creative/unique financing approaches (both of which will be applied to community energy projects). Direct experience with indigenous Wabanaki communities in Maine and/or Wabanaki heritage is preferred. Funding and the specific duties are tentative and depend on multiple grant proposals currently in development and review. This opportunity is best-suited for a Master’s thesis in Economics, Resource Economics & Policy, or Ecology & Environmental Science (EES). Depending on funding availability, this assistantship may be able to support an Interdisciplinary or EES PhD.

Cultural/Arts Amenities and Economic DevelopmentDr. Todd Gabe and Dr. Thomas Wiesen are seeking a graduate student to assist in a project on leveraging the cultural and arts amenities of rural communities to promote economic development and support human diversity.  The aims of the research project include: (1) building a large database quantifying the “amount” and “diversity” of cultural and arts amenities, (2) develop a new continuous measure of rurality for US counties based upon econometric connectedness and time series methods, (3) construct indicators of rural development and diversity, (4) characterize the diversity of cultural and arts amenities in rural areas, (5) explore the role of urban influence in explaining differences in culture and arts amenities across rural areas, and (6) analyze the effects of cultural and arts amenities on rural economic development and diversity.  The graduate research assistant will help with all aspects of the data collection and the empirical analysis.  Applicants with strong computational skills (including database building and programming) and strong communication skills are preferred.

*If you have questions, please review our FAQ page. You can also complete an Application Inquiry form (at the bottom of the FAQ page) or email the Graduate Coordinator: Dr. Keith S. Evans: